Lawyers from the State’s Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday applied for an in-camera hearing for the third Prosecution Witness in the case of the National Communication Authority (NCA) with the reason that his evidence would bother on National Security.
Led by Madam Yvonne Attakora Buobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Attorney General Department, she quoted Article 19 (15) to make the application, saying, if a matter involved state’s security, public morality, public safety and public order it would be prejudiced when publicised.
The witness is a National Security representative and would disclose matters of national interest, which would bother on the security of the State and public safety, she stressed.
She explained that the Article, which gives room for such matters to be in camera also, gave liberty, privileges, and afforded the accused persons fairness in criminal proceedings.
Madam Buobisa said prosecution had complied with various rules during proceedings including supplying defence counsels with all the documents requested to make their case as well as having the case in an open court, however, she said Clause 14 of Article 19 provided exceptions and empowered certain courts in certain instances to grant in-camera hearing.
In this instance, accused persons and their lawyers would be present and that did not infringed on their Fundamental Human Rights as they would be allowed to cross-examine and testify in-camera, she noted.
The Prosecution said Counsels of the accused persons had stated that the prosecution ought to have come by motion, but she was quick to add that the nature of that application merited the instant mode in which it was made.
She emphasised that prosecution had not held on any document nor refused to disclose, for it to be referred to the Supreme Court to be ordered to produce it.
Counsels for Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, Former Board Chairman of the NCA, Mr William Tevie, Former Director General, Nana Owusu Ensaw, a member of the, NCA Board and George Derrick Oppong, a Director of Infralocks Development Limited with the exception of Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, Former Deputy National Security Coordinator’s counsel, objected to the application.
They did it on the grounds that it should not be oral but a motion supported by an affidavit, for the Court to hold proceedings regarding the evidence of next witness in criminal proceedings and that they were taken by surprise as they were not given fore knowledge.
The High Court presided over by Mr Eric Kyei-Baffour in his ruling cited Article 19 (14)(15) as quoted by both sides: in issues of National Security, defence, public safety and public order were matters within exclusive reserve of the case.
He added that National Security matters were within the bosom of the state and the fact that the trial would take place in the presence of the accused persons and their lawyers, any claim that their rights would be violated cannot be correct.
Meanwhile, the case has been scheduled for every Tuesday and Thursday for speedy trial.